Monday, October 17, 2011

What does your water taste like?

How would you describe the water from your tap? Metallic, fresh, tasteless, chlorinated, bland, clean...? 80% of water taste testers preferred the taste of our bottled water samples at UM Dearborn's Water Expo. We hosted a blind taste test as part of their Sustainability Week. Along with bottled natural spring water, we had a sample from the bottle refill station at a local grocery store and the campus tap water. Last year we had a similar event where the preference was about tied, so we were surprised at the overwhelming preference for bottled water this time around. Sometimes tap water wins, sometimes it doesn't. If you don't like the taste of your tap, do you filter it, put up with it, or pay for another source?
At what cost?
With our cultural emphasis on hydration and effective marketing, many have just gotten in the bottled water habit. See this 20/20 episode on the impact of marketing - - which also mentions that some bottled water is just tap water conveniently packaged.
If you watched the movie "F.L.O.W.", you might recall the dispute between commercial access to cheap water, the transfer of water out of a local watershed and the differing regulatory oversight of municipal vs bottled water. Here's a trailer:
Objections about bottled water also include the production and disposal of the plastic bottle itself, the environmental burden caused by trucking water across the country, and the comparatively high price per gallon.
Visit this website to learn about the energy-intensive production of bottled water and other important factors:
To avoid the plastic problem, the convenience of bottled water can be met by refillable containers. UM Dearborn has a bottle-filling adaptation on the drinking fountain at the University Center, so students can refill any container with chilled tap water. It does taste better cold. The UMD Student Environmental Association is working to get rid of all plastic bottles on campus with an emphasis on sustainability, but refillable containers help budgets as well. The current decline in bottle water sales are most likely related to the economic downturn.
Tap Water vs Frack Water
This particular taste test included 'natural spring water' from a region threatened by fracking. What will be the results if fracking fluids impact the source? With complaints about water quality coming out of these regions, it may be even more important to know where our drinking water has been and what has been done to it. Start your studies by reading here:

Friday, October 14, 2011

SMART changes? Transportation Cuts Ahead

Due to the significant decrease in revenue and increased fuel and healthcare costs, SMART is seeking public input on proposed service changes. SMART encourages its riders and any citizen to attend the public hearings to better understand the issues at hand. Citizens will have the opportunity to contribute their comments.

The public hearings are scheduled for:

November 3rd, 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
City of Dearborn Ford Community & Performing Arts Center
15801 Michigan Avenue, Club Room #1
Dearborn, MI

November 7th, 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
City of Pleasant Ridge Community Center
4 Ridge Road
Pleasant Ridge, MI

November 9th, 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
City of Roseville Council Chambers
29777 Gratiot Avenue
Roseville, MI

For those who are unable to attend the hearings, written comments will be accepted through November 10, 2011.

Send written comments to:

SMART Administrative Offices
535 Griswold Street, Suite 600
Detroit, MI 48226
Attention: Public Hearings

Send email comments to:

To review proposed service cuts click here. For more details, please visit SMART's website at For further questions, please call Customer Information (866) 962-5515.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Forum Showtimes (updated)

Candidate Forums and Millage Proposals were taped in Dearborn Hts and Dearborn.

note: This article will be updated as additional viewing times are scheduled.
Bookmark this link if you want to check times as we will be updating the viewing schedule as needed.

Dearborn Hts Forums

> City Council Forum - 1 & 7 am/pm Daily

> Headlee Override Forum - 2:30 & 8:30 am/pm Daily

> D7 School Board Forum - 12:30 am/pm on Saturdays & Sundays

> The City Clerk Forum - 6 & 12 am/pm Daily

Dearborn Forums
Millage and Civil Service Commission Proposals, Dearborn School Board
Times listed below are for CDTV WOW channel 10, Comcast channel 12

Millage and Civil Service Ballot Proposals

Mon. 6 & 10 am, 2, 6, 10 pm

Tue. 7 & 11 am, 3 & 11 pm

Wed. 6 & 10 am, 6 & 10 pm

Thu. 7 & 11 am, 3 & 11 pm

Fri. 6 am, 2, 6, 10 pm

Sat. 8 am, 12 & 4 pm

Sun. 8 am, 12 pm

Dearborn School Board Forum

Mon. 11 am, 3 pm

Tue. 12 & 4 pm

Wed. 11 am, 7 pm

Thu. 8 am, 4 pm

Fri. 6 am, 2, 6, 10 pm

Sat. 9 am, 9 pm

Sun. 8 am, 12 pm

Comcast Customers Only - Additional viewing times on Public Service Channel 18
October 15 and 16 at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm

Nov 5 and 6 at 8am, 12:30pm, 5pm NEW TIMES

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Privatization Study - Nov 17th

If you are interested in forming an educated opinion about this issue, you will find that it is not a simple topic. The shades of gray become apparent when ones studies the history of government and business collaborations. From the company town to corrupted townships, there are extreme cases on either side.

The Seattle LWV has done extensive research in preparation for a national study. Their published report is a great place to start. The last pages of this lengthy publication includes a list of references.

You are invited to add links and suggested reading to this post or on our facebook page, You can also email comments, links and references to

Additional links will be added here, so please check back.

November 17th, Thurs @ 7pm.
Christ Episcopal Church, 120 N. Military at Cherry Hill.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dearborn Forum this Tuesday, Oct 4.

Attend our next forum in Dearborn's Council Chambers this week. Tuesday evening, October 4th, we will have a school board candidates forum at 7pm and presentations about the 3 millage proposals at 8pm.

Dearborn School Board – Elect 2 of 4

Stephen Stanley Dobkowski Jr.

Joseph A. Guido

Roxanne McDonald

Mary K. Petlichkoff


The City of Dearborn has cut 35% of its non-Police and Fire workforce and reduced spending by $12 million annually. Lower tax revenues will require more reductions and impact services and programs further. An additional 5-year millage will allow Dearborn to maintain core services while permanently reducing operating costs.

Shall Section 13.2 of the Dearborn City Charter be amended to temporarily allow the City to levy an additional ad valorem tax up to $3.50 per $1,000 in taxable value (3.5 mills) which will raise approximately $12,250,000 in the first year it is levied, for no more than 5 years?



State law allows citizens to authorize that 1 mill be dedicated to offset the costs of providing library services. Due to declining revenues, library services have been reduced. Additional revenues will be used to support greater technology so that the City of Dearborn can provide effective and efficient access to informational, developmental, and entertainment-oriented materials in order to meet current and future user demands.

Shall the City of Dearborn in accordance with State law MCL § 397.201 levy an additional ad valorem tax in an amount not to exceed $1 per $1,000 in taxable value which equals 1 mill or approximately $3,500,000 in the first year it is levied for no more than 10 years dedicated to fund the ongoing operational and capital costs of a library system?



The Civil Service System as defined in Chapter 11 of the Dearborn City Charter was created before City employees formed 8 different labor unions to represent them in negotiating contracts covering wages, benefits, and work rules. The provisions in these contracts take precedence over Civil Service policies. Dearborn is one of a few Michigan cities that still has a Civil Service System. If necessary, the City Council could create a Human Resources Commission by ordinance to oversee any employment issues for City employees.

Shall the Dearborn City Charter be amended to eliminate the Civil Service System by repealing Chapter 11?